This is a very fascinating area, and I find it a bit frustrating that it’s not as well known as it should be. Basically, this is the same procedure as we use during cataract surgery, except the lenses aren’t cloudy, they’re simply ‘worn out’.
As people get older, they are more than likely to become dependant on glasses to read. In my opinion, a Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a procedure that would suit someone who is significantly presbyopic (reading glasses dependent).
RLE surgery is exactly like cataract surgery, except the lens isn’t cloudy. The purpose of the surgery is simply to improve the refractive state of the of the eye, thus decreasing or eliminating the need for glasses. The surgery can be done under a local anesthesia, and takes around 30 minutes. Usually, a patient can leave the day surgery between 2-3 hours. Because a tiny incision is made in the cornea, we can now even avoid the need for stitches.
As with all surgery, there are risks involved, such as infection, inflammation and halos at nighttime. If you need multi-focal visual correction, you might also still need to wear glasses for certain activities, such as reading. However, a review of studies has determined that RLE procedures are safer than conventional laser eye treatment.
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